When Teen Entrepreneurs Go to Summer Camp

entrepreneur summer camp

It’s summertime, which means that school is out and many young people are off to camp. But for those dedicated to a career starting or running a small business, even summertime can be a time to learn more. For those young people, there’s the Teen Entrepreneur Academy.

A program of Concordia University Irvine, the Teen Entrepreneur Academy is a week-long program that teaches the principles and practices of entrepreneurship. Topics covered include clarifying an idea, creating a budget, doing research, building a team, gaining investors and more. It all culminates in an end-of-the-week business plan competition, where student teams write and present their own ideas for businesses.

Entrepreneurship can be an exciting trend for young people. TEA’s Founder Stephen Christensen told Small Business Trends recently that part of the reason he decided to start the program was the results of a 2012 Gallup survey of high school students. In that survey, 80% of students expressed interest in starting their own business someday. And 85% said they would like to have more business education.

Tech startups, in particular, appear to be getting younger and younger. The Internet has opened so many doors for innovation without requiring degrees or experience.

So teaching teens about entrepreneurship would seem to be beneficial, both for them and society as a whole. According to Christensen, the benefits can apply to aspects of life beyond business itself:

“We’re trying to instill in them an entrepreneurial mindset. An entrepreneurial mindset is one that sees problems as opportunities. So whether they actually start their own business or go to work for someone else, problems come up all the time in life. And every problem can be an opportunity. In business, it’s an opportunity for innovation. In life, it’s a chance to change your thinking and make better choices.”

The 2014 class is currently in session, with students from five states and three different countries. The program has grown each of the last three years and currently has a class of 80. The 2015 class is already scheduled for the week of July 12 to 18.

So for those young people who don’t want to spend their summer in front of the TV or even at a traditional summer camp – entrepreneurship could lead to some interesting opportunities!


Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

6 Reactions
  1. This is a nice opportunity for teens to start learning about entrepreneurship. Since it is not taught in school, they can go somewhere where they can learn it. I am definitely signing up my sons or daughters here if I have some.

    • It is a great opportunity, since most schools don’t seem to focus on this type of learning and it seems like a lot of young people are interested in entrepreneurship!

  2. What a wonderful entrepreneurial idea! Start teaching them as teens and eventually the world will change for the better. Kudos to Annie, and kudos to Stephen.

  3. This is a really interesting topic for teens, with whom I work every day! In Colombia (South America), we have had a kind of summer camp like this for years (See: Universidad Icesi)! And there are some schools that offer a subject on enterpreneurship at school as well! A curious fact: Did you know that 42% of the Colombian workforce works independently at their own business? I´m one of them, it works best!